Author Archives: theatrewritingpartnership

Taking the Stage

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On Tuesday and Thursday of next week (20/22 October), TWP are delighted to welcome Ola Animashawun to Nottingham to lead two workshops called Taking the Stage. Ola has worked at the Royal Court for the last fifteen years, championing new young writers and being an instrumental part of the development scheme Critical Mass. Find out more about Ola by following this link to a video in which he talks to the BBC about how to get started when writing a play.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/081215_radioplay_ola_animashawun.shtml

There are a few places left on this workshop, so please contact bianca@theatrewritingpartnership.org.uk or call 0115 9474361 to book yourself a place – you won’t be disappointed. Go on – inspire yourself, and meet other people with an aspiration to explore the stage.

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From Dusk ’til Dawn weekender

If you can’t make Northampton on Saturday, but you’re interested in some culture, check out the FD2D weekender.

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Script readings streamed live!

Talawa Theatre Company is exploring new ways to share and discuss new writing through live streamed rehearsed play readings.

Flipping the Script

Talawa’s series of play readings showcasing the best in Black British writing- is back at the Young Vic for its second series. Flipping the Script is your chance to hear a few of the thousands of different voices that make up the Black British experience.
We understand that many talented writers, both established and emerging, live and work outside of the capital and can’t be at the Young Vic in person, so we are streaming the readings online. With continuous chat room discussion throughout the evening we enable writers of all backgrounds the opportunity to watch, listen and participate.

Executive Producer at Talawa, Christopher Rodriguez, says:
“Talawa is excited to bring live streaming of its Flipping the Script readings at the Young Vic to writers across the UK to join in and comment on some of the best untold Black British stories. The series has always proved to be a sold out success but has been limited to London audiences. Now, Talawa wants to share in the rich abundance of plays reaching the Talawa offices and that would otherwise remain unknown. By livestreaming the readings, we are able to pursue a UK wide discussion around Black British work.”

We launched this initiative on 8 September with a reading of Stevie Amuzu’s White Paper. Networks tuned in to the live streaming included writers from your Theatre Writing Partnership and writers from Trinidad! We believe in the importance of new writing and are reaching out to audiences outside of venues, whilst promoting quality work and writers. Flipping the Script continues on Thursday, 8th October at 7pm, with three surreal short stories directed by winner of the Jerwood Award Daljinder Singh. Mr. Atlantic (Atiha Sen-Gupta), Honey Chil’ (Harold Kimmel) and Rigged (Robert Hutchinson) combine comedy with migration and the search for celebrity. For live audiovisuals of Flipping the Script along with continuous chatroom discussion on the plays being read, please go to:Livestream or Talawa
For full details on the season go to:Flipping the Script’s e-flier

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An incredible opportunity to work with Manchester Camerata

After a fantastically successful pilot programme, Newark and Sherwood District Council were awarded Arts Council funding to develop Visible: opportunities for people over fifty to engage in inspirational and stimulating creative ventures. Visible is being launched with an exciting collaboration between NSDC, Manchester Camerata and Thoresby Gallery. Book your place before it’s too late!

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This is a test

testing style etc. – will a posterous autopost obey the laws of CSS?

Bianca Winter
Theatre Writing Partnership
General Manager and Producer

0115 9474361

MOMENTUM 2009:

TWP’s springboard for the year ahead.

2 – 27 October 2009.

Don’t miss out – check our blog for details.

Keep up to date

Follow our tweets

@TWPGoSee






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A city explored, performed

OCTOBER 4, 2009

A city explored, performed.

 

(All images in this post © Christian Payne)

On the 2nd and 3rd of October 2009 Theatre Writing Partnership, Stan’s Cafe and Derby LIVE brought a two-day adventure to the City of Derby. The first day was a city-wide adventure – a kind of treasure-hunt with clues and tasks that produced images, sounds and creative writing in the morning, and then a coming together of participants to produce scripts and monologues in the afternoon. The second day brought a director and 4 actors to the material, producing a performance and presentation that evening: A City Staged.

Listen to Kate Chapman explaining the first day: A City Adventure.

This was a bold and unusual experiment in theatre writing which was very exciting to be a part of, and we want to bring you just a taste of the experience through the media (audio, video, and images) produced by our two social-media documenters: Hannah Nicklin and the excellent Christian Payne (Documentally).

Here we can see two of their turning points in the adventure, which were streamed live at the time through Qik

 

The days would have been nothing without the participants, who though not always privy to the big picture, traversed the tasks given to them with enthusiasm. Here we have an interview with several of them, just back from the morning’s adventure.

 

The material they produced was then wrought into shape by TWP’s Artistic Director Kate Chapman, and a team of four actors, here’s an interview with Gary, one of those actors, and with Kate, just half an hour before the presentation was performed.

Gary:

Kate:

The presentation took the form of a collection of images and sounds recorded throughout the day, and a reading of the dramatic work written in response to the tasks undertaken. The presentation was scored by several monologues which spoke from the city of Derby’s heart – its inhabitants, its churches, and its monuments. Here is a four minute excerpt from the piece:

You can find further highlights from the two day’s images, video and audio on TWP’s Posterous. The audioboos recorded throughout the two days are the best way to follow the tasks and process in detail, and you can find them in order (complete with images and geo (location) tags) here and mapped here. This map allows you to follow Hannah and @Documentally’s progress through the city, enabling you to listen without leaving map view.  (Massive thanks to@buddhamagnet for the mapping facility.)

We will leave you with an interview with Rochi Rampal, one of the performers, just after the performance finished, and with Jayne, one of the City Adventure participants reflecting on the feeling of seeing her writing staged.

Rochi:

Jayne:

 





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A brilliant man, a terrible loss, an undying spirit

Noel Greig

Greig as Edward Carpenter in the Gay Sweatshop production of his play The Dear Love of Comrades (1979)

As playwright, actor and director, Noël Greig, who has died aged 64 of cancer, believed that theatre has to have a context. There has to be a reason for putting on a play: the best work comes out of collaboration and the audience has to emerge – whether from a grand metropolitan auditorium or a room with a striplight – feeling in some way larger. That sense of context came from the people Noël related to as a teacher, mentor, animateur, artist and gay rights activist.

Though by 1972 Noël was working in West End theatre, he felt at home neither there nor even in the racier, “alternative” London scene. More importantly, at a time of the burgeoning gay liberation movement, he felt the work he was doing was not reflecting his true self. So in 1973 he moved to Bradford to join the General Will, a touring socialist collective theatre company. There he became involved in radical gay theatre, encouraging local lesbians and gay men to participate in new work.

In 1977 he joined Gay Sweatshop, the London-based theatre company founded in 1975 by Drew Griffiths and Gerald Chapman. It reached out to universities, trade union venues and Campaign for Homosexual Equality groups as well as theatres by telling personal stories. Noël brought historical perspective and a social and political context in his 10 years with the company as writer, director and later administrative director. With Griffiths, he wrote the groundbreaking As Time Goes By (1977), the first “historical” gay play, showing repression in three different time-frames: Victorian Britain, Nazi Germany and modern America.

Its success led to The Dear Love of Comrades (1979), the story of the 19th-century Utopian socialist Edward Carpenter, which showed the early roots of the Labour party and its distancing from sexual politics. Noël took the role of Carpenter, and in 1984 edited his Selected Writings.

Poppies (1983) was a time-shifting, futuristic vision of society on the brink of nuclear disaster and social breakdown. It suggested the leavening effect the gay sensibility might possibly have on the human gadarene drive to self-destruction.

Noël grew up in Skegness, Lincoln-shire. His father was a drummer and comedian in the Jan Ramsden Band, which played throughout the summer at the end of the resort’s pier. From Skegness grammar school, he went to King’s College London to study history.

On graduating in 1966, he spent a brief spell acting in rep at Harrogate, north Yorkshire, and at Oldham, Lancashire, where he was also assistant stage manager. Then he formed the Brighton Combination with two university friends, Jenny Harris and Ruth Marks.

Conceived as a commune with a cafe, bookshop and an experimental theatre studio created by Noël from a former schoolhouse, this was one of the very first “arts labs”, following the introduction of the idea by an American, Jim Haynes, in London. The work in Brighton proved just as innovative, politically radical and iconoclastic.

After the Combination moved to Deptford, south-east London, in 1971, Noël worked briefly at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, and at Inter Action’s Almost Free Theatre – the counter-culture arts centre run by another American, Ed Berman, in Kentish Town, north London. As well as directing, Noël supervised the Fun Art Bus, which travelled along a normal bus route picking up passengers. Then came work as an assistant director on Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End. However, these all turned out to be merely stopping-off points.

By the 1980s, Noël had decided that if theatre was going to have any real impact on people’s lives, then it had to address itself to younger audiences. Long associations followed with companies such as Red Ladder, based in Leeds, and more recently Tangere Arts, in the Derbyshire village of Tansley.

Plays such as Plague of Innocence (1988), about the Aids panic, commissioned by the Crucible, Sheffield, and extensive mentoring and workshop programmes, made Noël a pivotal figure in the development of playwriting for and by young people. These he undertook with the Royal Court young writers group, Birmingham Rep’s Transmissions programme and, especially, Theatre Centre, working with young people from its home in north London, and later at Aldgate in the East End.

In 2001 Noël conceived the biennial Contacting the World, an international festival hosted by Contact Theatre in Manchester to bring young theatre artists together. The resulting book, Young People, New Theatre (2008), reflected the group exercises Noël had developed. It proved as successful as his earlier Playwriting: A Practical Guide (2004), since translated into many languages.

Noël wrote more than 50 plays, produced by companies ranging from young people’s theatres to the Royal Shakespeare Company (He Is Ours, 1992); from the homeless people’s company Cardboard Citizens to Graeae, for people with disabilities; and from Theatreworks in Singapore to Prairie Exchange Theatre in Winnipeg, Canada.

He often travelled to pass on the lessons he had learned to new audiences. Last April, though already seriously ill, he went to Palestine to help emerging young writers find their voices, directed a performance of pieces by elderly writers in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and led a workshop for playwrights in the East Midlands.

Then he went to the holy city of Qom, in north-west Iran, to work with a group of mullahs. For the previous two years, University of Tehran lecturers had based a course on Playwriting. They used his visit to forge links with liberal young clerics, with, exceptionally, seven women participating.

Noël took a characteristically lively interest in other people’s lives and opinions right up to the end. He is survived by his mother, Dorothy.

David Edgar writes: The General Will was one of the leftwing, agitprop theatre groups that toured in the heady days of the early 1970s. Noël joined the group to direct my play The Dunkirk Spirit, and ended up in the cast. A cartoon history of British capitalism, the play reached its high point in Noël’s performance, deliciously costumed, as the Gold Standard, in a scene whose other characters were the Deutschmark, the Dollar and the Pound.

Some way into the run, Noël mounted a coup d’etat (during a performance) against a company which, he argued, shared no common oppression, claiming the General Will for gay rights. More about the temper of the times than the spirit of the man, this action was a protest against a left that dismissed gay liberation as unserious. Noël was the gentlest of people, but he was militant for the causes he believed in and knew that emancipation is never handed to anyone on a plate.

Later, he amassed an impressive canon of plays. But his legacy also embraces the hundreds of playwrights he taught and inspired, including more than 300 young people involved with the pioneering Transmissions programme since 1999, through whose writing his work will live on.

• Noël Antony Miller Greig, playwright, actor, director and teacher, born 25 December 1944; died 9 September 2009

Noël Greig obituary | Stage | The Guardian

TWP was incredibly lucky to work with Noël – both at last year’s Momentum festival, and at Newark Palace last spring, working with Newark and Sherwood District Council on a theatre writing project for writers over fifty.

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